Time Management Made Simple
No one is born with flawless time management skills. Developing them is a process that doesn’t happen overnight, and tends to require a lot of trying new things and modifying them to find the right fit.
Here’s a list to get you started:
This is a technique that I haven’t personally been able to try but I’ve heard some great success stories about.
The concept is simple: you structure your class time and study time to that of a traditional full time job. At 8 or 9 am you either start your first lecture, lab or tutorial, or get a head start on your readings and assignments.
Benefits of this technique include having mostly free evenings and weekends, as well as being able to reach the recommended amount of study time, however sometimes your only option is to take an evening course.
Some people prefer rising with the sun to start their work, some hitting the books or the gym as early as five in the morning.
Benefits to pushing your workload to the start of the day can include increased energy when completing tasks, always being ahead of schedule when assignments are due, and being able to impress your friends with your ability to be finished your work before mid-afternoon.
Of course, the drawbacks here are that early mornings aren’t the ideal schedule for everyone.
Some of the most common study advice that you’ve probably been told since grade school is to study at the same time every day. This is a great way to build routine. Routine is helpful in assisting mental preparation, which is one of the best ways to learn material. However, this method can have drawbacks when faced with a busy schedule that varies a lot day-to-day.
This self explanatory method is popular amongst students because it works well with sleeping in, as well as hectic schedules where the only consistently free hours are late at night.
The drawbacks here are more inconveniences such as potential to be submitting assignments last minute, resources such as libraries and printers not being open, as well as causing stress which can impact quality of sleep.
This is the method I’ve used the most. When dealing with a schedule that has a lot of variation you often must study whenever and wherever you can.
This can include finishing up a reading between classes, running through practice problems on the bus, or waking up an hour early to edit a paper.
This method also works well with techniques such as the “cells of freedom” approach. What I like about this method is that it helps me take advantage of small chunks of time that I wouldn’t use productively otherwise. It can also be arranged to create more free time on evenings and weekdays.
Of course, some will dislike how it requires you to be constantly doing stuff.
How to actually multitask
While being able to actually multitask is impossible (multitasking is simply being able to switch between multiple tasks quickly, not being able to do two things actively at once) it can still be helpful in saving you some time.
While multitasking can be dangerous in some situations such as driving or inefficient in others such as studying, in tasks such as cooking or doing chores it can actually be a way to either boost your study time or give you some additional leisure time.
While chopping vegetables you can listen to a podcast or a video that summarizes a topic from class, and folding laundry can be a way to either catch up on Netflix or listen to the audio edition of your textbook as review.
Make a To-Do List
It’s a thousand times easier to get things done if you know what you need to get done. Making a list is the easiest way to do this and helps you keep track of everything.
I like to put mine in order of priority based on due date or if one task on the list needs to be completed in order to complete others. It’s also super satisfying to be able to cross items off of your list when you’ve finished them.
Do the Hardest Task First
Or the one you like the least… or dread the most. Either way getting the hardest task out of the way will make the rest way easier and get the ball rolling for your productivity.
What are your favourite time management strategies? Have you tried any of the ones listed here?